Search This Blog

Thursday, March 25, 2010

7. "Öll Birtan" by Björk

I swear to Bowie that these tracks are selected randomly, and not personally handpicked by me for the maximum mutual musically-esoteric and horrifying-to-parody-album-art values, but I won't blame anyone for doubting me.

I suppose there were other approaches to covering a completely a capella track in a foreign language-- I did noodle around with transposing it to guitar for a bit-- but I ultimatelt took what might be simultaneously the most obvious and most difficult approach: just sing it. That meant laying the original Björk track down and singing track after track along with it, trying to isolate parts in the stereo spectrum as I went, scribbling down phonetic approximations of the Icelandic lyrics and hoping I didn't lose my place. I had the kids double me on a few parts for bonus elfin-sounding points; in the end we added a few random bits here and there in other non-English languages for fun. The results are interesting, if not necessarily, how do you English say? Ah yes... listenable.

Rex Broome ~ Faux Icelandic and Dada vocals
Miranda Broome ~ Faux Icelandic and Hebrew vocals, jewelry design
Eden Hain ~ Latin vocals, mask design


This entry became, of course, more famous for the photo artwork (in which I for some reason remind myself of Julian Cope more than anything else) than the musical content, although that got a fair amount of attention, too. With the amount of layering of vocals and effects employed here, it's a miracle that it's comprehensible as music at all, but it manages to hang together and it really sounds like nothing else in the rest of the project.

And that relates to the amount of work that went into it on the "learning it" side of things. The process is briefly described above, but it was, if anything, even more involved than it sounds, generating several pages of faux-Icelandic phoneticisms and obscure notations as to the timing and pronunciation. And don't forget the mixing process... it was a bitch and a half.

The whole package couldn't be described as transcendant, but it did attract some attention and I think it may have cleared up once and for all the fact that I wasn't just doing a fun daily cover of some song I liked... this was going to involve challenges.


In and amongst the mumblings can be heard:

-Eden reading her Latin homework
-Miranda reciting the Hannukah blessing
-Me reciting the Dada poem by Hugo Ball used as the basis for the lyrics to Talking Heads' "I Zimbra", which I would later cover in full

1 comment:

  1. Haven't even listened yet but the artwork is awesome!